Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – March 19, 2017
Theme: Building Blocks for Godly Living
Topic: Total Obedience
Text: Matthew 7:24-29; Luke 14:25-33
Key Verse: Matthew 7:24: “”Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”(NIV)
Last Sunday, we explored what making “Kingdom Choices” should mean for the Christian. We noted the following:
- The very first kingdom choice a Christian makes is that of submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, by which we are born again.
- Beyond being born again, we are constantly making choices that reflect our commitment to His kingdom. This is reflected in the sides we take on such issues as ethics, politics, the law, tradition, and the causes to which we commit our resources.
- While we would always seek to justify our choices even when they are driven by ulterior motives, our true commitment to His kingdom comes to light when we make the hard choices – choices that take sides with God but that may work against our immediate interests.
This week, we will be exploring the last of our topics on the quarter’s theme – “Total Obedience”. As with many of the things Jesus taught His disciples, His teaching on obedience is in the context of a relationship with Him. Our learning from this study should include the following:
- The only obedience Jesus demands from an unbeliever is obedience to the gospel – submission to His Lordship, which would then set the stage for other obedience. Preaching other obedience to an unbeliever could mislead the unbeliever into thinking that salvation is by works.
- God has provided for the believer all that is needed for godly living – see 2 Peter 1:3. Without this, it would be impossible for the Christian to obey Him as the obedience God demands is impossible with human strength. This is why teaching obedience to an unbeliever could become an obstacle to accepting Christ.
- We must be careful to avoid partial obedience in the manner of King Saul as regards the Amalekites – it amounts to disobedience.
Jesus Christ has never been short of admirers. Kings and queens, rulers of nations, including those who practice the strangest religions, would acknowledge that He was great, and would commend Him to us. Back in His days of ministry on earth, a woman was so enamoured by His words that she exclaimed: “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” (Luke 11:27). But what was His response to this fan? “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28). Salvation and godly living are not about admiring Jesus Christ, or even acknowledging that His word is good, but doing what He says. Those who have not had a personal experience with Christ and who lack understanding of the gospel, while admiring Him, would readily submit that obedience to Him is impossible because they are human. They say this because they miss the point that there is one prime obedience without which all other obedience are nearly impossible. The prime obedience is to respond to the call to make Him Lord of our lives.
1. What are the possible consequences of preaching obedience to Christ’s commands to those who have not yet come to know Him as Lord and Saviour?
One of the biggest obstacles to people submitting their lives to Christ is the thought of what obedience to Him would mean thereafter. Christ indeed warns that those who come to Him must count the cost – Luke 14:25-33. However, He assures such people: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:30 NIV). How can this be? One who has never driven a loaded trailer truck might wonder how a man could control such a huge and heavy truck by so easily turning the steering wheel. However, when he gets behind the wheel, he finds that it has little to do with his physical strength, because there is a power steering system that multiplies his effort. Before we have a relationship with Him, it all seems impossible. But when we come to a personal relationship with Him, we discover “the power steering effect” – that He supplies the grace we need to obey Him: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3). Jesus indeed demands total obedience from the Christian, even when it is inconvenient.
2. Why do Christians still struggle with obedience to Christ despite His providing “everything we need for a godly life”?
Often, obedience to Jesus puts the Christian in short-term difficulty. Preaching the gospel could land us in jail; giving to meet someone else’s need may create a hole in our finances; showing mercy to an offender could expose us to backlashes, and so on. These fears could make us show partial obedience. King Saul thought he was showing sufficient obedience when he killed the Amalekites at God’s command, but saved Agag their king and some livestock to sacrifice to God – See 1 Sam 15:8-33. Apostle Peter, in obedience to God’s stand of equality of believers, had fellowship with Gentile believers, but developed cold feet when some Jews came from Jerusalem because he feared Jewish sanctions for associating with the Gentiles – See Gal 2:11-14.
3. Give practical examples of how we might show partial obedience to God and why.
Father, You demand total obedience from us. Open the eyes of our understanding to see that this is the only way to truly live, and grant us the grace to comply even when it hurts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.